Aug 152012

Babar Naeem

Heywood’s two senior sides face decisive fixtures this weekend.

The firsts travel to Milnrow on Saturday and host Walsden on Sunday against of  their two main rivals for the CLL title.

Milnrow have proved a powerful team under the leadership of pro Babar Naeem, whose slow left-armers have almost single-handedly led his side into the top four. He has taken 85 wickets in the league, at an average of 10.

He and his team proved too strong for Heywood in the Wood Cup quarter-finals and Heywood will be desperate to gain revenge. However, Milnrow have been shorn of Max Power, their main amateur batting threat, who has joined Littleborough after reportedly becoming disgruntled with some elements at Ladyhouse.

As much of a threat with the ball is Walsden pro and fellow slow left-armer Ranil  Dhammika, who has 81 wickets at less than nine. His side are eight points clear at the top of the table and are a tough nut to crack on their low wicket and short boundaries.

However, Walsden’s seconds did show they are vulnerable on the wide open spaces of Crimble, and the same might be said for their first team, although it will be a difficult game for Heywood against a home-grown team who are brimming with confidence.

It’s equally tough for the seconds who will fancy their chances at home to Milnrow, but who know it will be difficult to win at Walsden. Last season, they managed just one four and one six in the fixture at Scott Street, although the current team is a much more confident side than that which visited Walsden late last year.

The thirds travel to face Swinton Moorside.

Heywood CC 1st XI (v Milnrow, a, Sat. Start 1.15pm, meet noon) R.Cross, R. Zelem, D.Pawson, J.Lovell, R.Slawson, C. Kaye, A.Dawson, A.Fawcett, H.Patterson. H.Naeem, T.Townsend. Sunday v Walsden, home: D.Latham replaces A.Fawcett

Heywood CC 2nd XI (v Milnrow, h, Sat. Start 1.15pm, meet 12.30pm) R.Smethurst, P.Dawson, S.Dawson, W.Hunt, C.Booth, T.Blundell, S.Burrill, D.Fawcett, S.Jones, S.Byrne, R.Purser. Sunday v Walsden, away: add L Grogan and A Fawcett.

Heywood CC 3rd XI (v Swinton Moorside, a, Sunday. Meet noon) P Mills, S McConnell, M Wright, C Openshaw, J Mills, S Chapman, K Peters, M Kay, L Arnold, plus two from second team.

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